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Gas prices still heading north

Gas prices in southeast Wisconsin actually went down a half-cent a gallon this morning (Tuesday). But around the state, they still went up less than half a penny. said a gallon of regular unleaded averaged $3.14 a gallon today, 36 cents more than a month ago.

In Milwaukee the average price is $3.27, up 42 cents from this time last month. Experts have blamed Middle East tensions and U.S. refinery problems for the big jump in recent weeks.

Bob Bartlett of the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association says gas station owners are still getting heat but it's not as bad as in past spikes. He says most customers now understand we're "swimming in a global economy."

Bartlett said the wholesale gas price in Milwaukee was $2.48 a gallon as of Monday and taxes and credit card processing fees raise that to $3.09. He says it doesn't leave much for stations to pay wages, rent, utilities, insurance and the like.

The Triple A agrees that most mom and pop gas stations despise the high prices as much as the rest of us because it cuts their profit margins. Also, convenience store owners say folks buy less soda and food because all their money's going down the pump.